Short Film Review: NO COUNTRY FOR DUMB MAN, 4min., Comedy

On its surface “No Country For Dumb Man”  is a slasher 4 minute comedy about a hitman who isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Its comedic highlights are the over-the-top gross out moments of what occurs after someone dies. An over-indulgent spray of blood from a shot artery that goes all over the room. Or a literal splatter of poop going on the hitman’s face after he shoots a man while he’s on the toilet. Tone-wise you can mistake this for a simple and fun comedy romp that wants to give you “shocking” moments to entertain you and the masses.  But it’s more.

When you peel away the essence, there is something profound about “No Country For Dumb Man.” The film starts with the familiar music of “Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major”, something I’m sure everyone has heard at least once in their lifetime. It gives us a tone that this is a serious hitman doing serious business. The hitman narrates his journey throughout the first 2 minutes and his encounters on the job. Then there is an audience reveal that this guy is actually not really that good at his job, and he really doesn’t give too much thought about what he’s actually doing. He’s dangerous because he has a gun, and he’s not that bright. The worst combination a person can have.

The 2nd half of the film is an encounter with a young woman. Through that we understand more of each person’s motive and a nice twist occurs. Then during the credits there is a classic “Jackie Chan-esque” sequence of the behind the scenes of how certain sequences were filmed. They pull the curtain back and let the audience in that this is a film and let’s not take it too seriously.

But I will take it seriously for a second. This is a masterclass on how to tell a story in under 5 minutes. The filmmaker gives the audience 2 different tone changes, all the while he’s giving us a comedy and making us laugh. And we are satisfied with the ending. We like to dislike the lead character and pulling that off isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish.

Bravo to Emerson College Film student Minhan Liang. He’s a filmmaker on the rise. Watch out for that name as I think he’s got some TV series or feature films in his future.  

By Eli Manning

Directed by Minhan Liang

Produced by Tonghan Tian

Cast: Drew Carter, Amanda Li

Watch the Audience Feedback Video from the Comedy Festival:


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